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Metro Health President & CEO Announces Transition Plan for Retirement

Michael Faas, President & CEO of Metro Health – University of Michigan Health announced his retirement today. Mr. Faas began in his role at Metro in July of 1994 and has just completed his 23rd year. Some of the more important milestones of his tenure include:

  • Establishing an early Physician Hospital Organization (PHO) which has now evolved into a CIN (Clinically Integrated Network).
  • The first mid-size community hospital in the U.S. to access EPIC – the gold standard electronic medical record now serving over 50% of all U.S. hospitals.
  • Employing the first doctors at Metro (currently 225 providers employed).
  • Establishing the first neighborhood outpatient facilities (putting doctors and hospital services into neighborhoods, now 18 locations).
  • Relocating Metro Health Hospital to a new site 8 miles from Grand Rapids to Wyoming, MI. First hospital in the state to relocate more than 2 miles from original location.
  • Establishing choice in the west Michigan market by affiliating with the University of Michigan.
  • Creating Metro Health Village (dedicated to protecting the environment through Leed projects).

Mr. Faas plans to serve into the 2018 calendar year as the search for his replacement is underway. The transition plan is now underway but expect no slowdown in Metro’s growth or moving full speed ahead on strategic initiatives. Mr. Faas commented that it was an honor and a privilege to work beside so many wonderful people who always put what was best for the patient and the community first. Those who work at Metro Health truly have always had a passion for what they do and how they do it.


Advancement in robotic spine surgery comes to Metro Health

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is elevating its already renowned spine program, becoming the first hospital in Michigan to acquire the Mazor X™ spine surgery system for minimally invasive procedures.

Developed by Mazor Robotics, the Mazor X surgical assistance system combines unprecedented tools and analytics to plan operations, as well as unparalleled image-based guidance during operations.

The system brings exceptional precision to minimally invasive procedures. Because they require smaller incisions than open surgery, minimally invasive operations result in less pain, less blood loss and quicker recovery.

“Minimally invasive surgery has been a major focus at Metro Health in recent years,” says Dr. Peter Hahn, chief medical officer. “The Mazor X will further enable our surgeons to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Metro Health was also the first hospital in Michigan to use Mazor’s previous-generation robot for spine surgery, the Renaissance® guidance system.

“After completing more than 400 safe and successful surgeries with the previous robot, it was an easy decision to pioneer the Mazor X in Michigan,” says Dr. John Keller, section chief of neurosurgery at Metro. “This new robot gives us advantages before and during surgery that were not available even two years ago.”

Smaller incisions can pose a challenge for surgeons because the view of the patient’s anatomy is limited. The Mazor X system overcomes this challenge by providing a CT-based three-dimensional simulation of the patient’s spine, helping surgeons develop an optimal plan before entering the operating room. In addition, computer analytics provide precision guidance during the operation.

“Mazor X allows us to operate with greater accuracy, efficiency and confidence,” Hahn says. “We believe this is the safest and most accurate minimally invasive technology for spine procedures available.”


Gastroenterology Services Expanding at Metro Health – University of Michigan Health

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health’s Gastroenterology Services is more than doubling its size in August with the addition of seven physicians joining the practice.

“We are excited to announce an expansion in our gastroenterology services which will benefit all residents in West Michigan,” said President & CEO Mike Faas. “Metro is bringing on two new gastroenterologists who will be employed by the hospital. In addition, five physicians from Michigan Medicine will also join the team and treat patients here in West Michigan.”

Besides adding new physicians, new subspecialty services will be added to provide tertiary care access in Grand Rapids. The subspecialties, which started Aug. 15, include:

  • Hepatology—consultation and management of complex liver patients.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)—consultation and/or management of routine patients, medically refractory disease and second opinions.
  • Interventional Endoscopy—consultation for pancreatic or biliary disease, endoscopic ultrasound, routine and complex ERCP services, and endoscopic resection of large polyps or early stage cancers.

“We are so excited to expand our services at Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Gastroenterology in order to meet patient demand,” said Gastroenterologist Ryan Hamby, DO. “Whether you’ve been our patient for years, or are new to us, we are proud of the new services we will be offering in our community.”

Faas added, “The expansion in gastroenterology is just one of many ways we are working to provide services to patients in the areas of critical need while also continuing to create high-quality choice in the marketplace. It’s happening here.”


Metro Health hosts service fair for homeless vets

Scores of homeless veterans from throughout West Michigan are expected to gather for the second year in a row on the Wyoming campus of Metro Health – University of Michigan Health to connect with resources that can help them rebuild their lives.

The veterans will be participating in a Stand Down event coordinated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Held throughout the year and throughout the country, Stand Downs bring homeless veterans together in a single location to provide convenient access to community resources.

The local Stand Down will be held Friday, Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the Granger Green in front of the hospital at The Metro Health Village, 5900 Byron Center Ave. SW.

“We’re honored to host these veterans on our campus,” says Emil Hannesson, director of community outreach for Metro Health. “These individuals have pledged their lives to the country and now need the community’s assistance. This event is a great way to remind them how much they are valued, and that people do support them.”

Tiyanna Payne, a supervisor with the VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans program in Grand Rapids, adds: “Stand Downs are the nation’s most valuable outreach tool for veterans who are homeless or marginally housed.”

Nearly 50 service providers plan to participate, including federal, state, and community agencies, as well as veteran support groups. Homeless veterans will have access to food, clothing, medical care, housing assistance, job counseling, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services.

In addition, military surplus items will be available for eligible vets, including sleeping bags, rucksacks, cold weather gear and personal hygiene products. The event also offers breakfast, a lunch prepared by Metro’s chef, and free haircuts.

“Veterans won’t have to go from one agency to another to access the services they need,” Payne says. “For one day, everything will be in one place, and everyone will be here to provide them with aid.”

The name of the event has its origins in the Vietnam War, when “standing down” referred to soldiers being taken off the lines to rest and recover.

“Our Stand Down is designed to give veterans an opportunity to renew their spirit, health and well-being,” Payne says. “Here’s our chance to surround this vulnerable population with the services they need.”

The event gets underway at 10 a.m. with a Color Guard presentation and national anthem. The anthem will be performed by Joyce Jones-Davis, a nurse manager with the Wyoming VA Health Care Center. Lisa Martin, director of the Wyoming VA clinic, will follow with a welcome address.

This event is for veterans only. If a veteran needs assistance getting to the event, please call the Health Care for Homeless Veterans service center (616-356-1746). The media contact on the day of the event is Amanda Briggs (269-967-0190).


Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Named “Most Wired” Hospital

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health has been named one of the country’s most technologically savvy hospitals for the sixth straight year, earning the “Most Wired” designation from the American Hospital Association.

Based on data collected through an online survey early this year, the Most Wired designation recognizes hospitals for IT excellence in four areas: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration.

In the survey’s 19-year history, Metro Health has garnered Most Wired kudos eight times, including the past six years in a row.

“The Most Wired hospitals are using every available technology to reach their patients and improve access to care,” says Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association.

“We’re always looking to integrate technology in a way that makes it easier for patients and providers to interact,” says Joshua Wilda, chief information officer at Metro Health – University of Michigan Health. “Many of our technology tools also help patients become more involved in their care.”

Hospitals earning Most Wired status are especially adept at using mobile devices and remote monitoring to help patients access healthcare services. Here’s a sampling of ways these characteristics play out at Metro Health:

  • Secure messaging. For a decade now, patients have been able to send secure messages to clinicians via Metro’s online patient portal. Secure messaging expanded to mobile devices in 2014.
  • Prescription renewals. Metro Health is among the two-thirds of Most Wired hospitals that let patients renew prescriptions on mobile devices, a capability that also became available in 2014.
  •  E-visits. E-visits through Metro’s online portal have proved beneficial for an array of cases. They allow patients to interact with providers without visiting the doctor’s office.
  • Real-time care management. Metro Health combines various technologies to allow care managers to reach out to high-risk patients through the online portal, providing information and advice that can help them avoid multiple office visits.

Metro Health is also among the majority of Most Wired hospitals that use sophisticated IT monitoring techniques. Among them: intrusion detection systems, data access audits (who accessed what data and when), and phishing exercises that teach employees to question suspicious emails.

In addition, like many Most Wired hospitals, Metro Health is on the vanguard in the use of data and analytics to improve care, reduce costs and support decision making.

“We’re determined to become even more data driven,” Wilda says. “Data and analytics hold so much promise for transforming care delivery that they demand our attention.”

Detailed results of the Most Wired study can be found in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks (


Health and Wellness Day returns to Metro Health Village

The annual Health and Wellness Day returns to Metro Health – University of Michigan Health on Thursday, July 27, followed by the Metro Way 5K and 10K runs in the evening.

Health and Wellness Day will coincide with the weekly Metro Health Farm Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The two runs start at 6:30 p.m., preceded by the free kids races a half hour earlier. All events take place at Metro Health Village, 5900 Byron Center Ave. SW.

“From morning till night, the day is all about encouraging healthy lifestyles,” says Emil Hannesson, director of community outreach. “Our tradition at Metro Health is to support overall community wellness, not just treat illness.”

Health and Wellness Day activities include free screenings for blood pressure and body mass index, as well as information about stroke awareness, smoking cessation, joint health and hands-only CPR.

Also scheduled is a Chef Cookoff in which local chefs compete to create delicious dishes featuring Farm Market fare. This year’s chefs are:

  • Jeremy Paquin from Grove Restaurant in Grand Rapids
  • Vinnie Augustoni, director of dining services at First & Main, an assisted living facility in Metro Health Village
  • Zach Zost, Metro Health executive chef
  • Chef O (Oliver Hale), retired national healthy lifestyle chef, winner of Chef Cook-off in 2014

Cookoff judges include Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll, Wyoming Fire Chief Chuck Lark, Valerie Lego of WZZM 13 and two surprises. The chefs get started at 11 a.m.; judging is at noon.

As Health and Wellness Day winds down, the family fun runs get underway. The runs welcome people of all ages and abilities, whether they want to compete or just take a stroll.

“Yes, there will be awards, but the runs are mostly about fun,” says Hannesson. “We don’t care if you run, jog, walk, skip or hop across the finish line. Just come out and get active.”

The range of participants extends to disabled individuals. In association with the local chapter of myTEAM TRIUMPH, Metro Health’s cardiac rehab team will push wheelchair-bound participants in the 5K. MyTEAM TRIUMPH is a nonprofit organization that gives disabled people the thrill of crossing the finish line in endurance events.

The kids races, for children ages 3-14, start at 6 p.m. The Metro Way 5K and 10K start at 6:30. Shelley Irwin, host of the WGVU Morning Show, will serve as race emcee.

Kids races are free but registration is required. Advance registration for the 5K and 10K is $30 online. To register for any race, please visit Adult participants may also register on site for $35 starting at 9 a.m. on race day.

All funds raised will benefit free and low-cost community health programs offered by Metro Health.


Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Physician Completes First U.S. Case

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health physician, Jihad A. Mustapha, MD, FACC, FSCAI, is the first in the U.S. to complete treatment on a patient utilizing the LimFlow Percutaneous Deep Vein Arterialization (pDVA) System. The investigational device is used for the treatment of end-state critical limb ischemia (CLI) after all other effort have been exhausted.

CLI can be a painful and limb-threatening for individuals who develop it. Common characterizations of CLI include pain at rest, ulcers, or gangrene in one or both legs stemming from arterial disease. Diabetics, smokers, and older individuals are among those with the highest rates of CLI.

“The only other disease with worse life expectancy than CLI is pancreatic cancer,” Mustapha, the study’s primary investigator, said. “Because of the mortality rate associated with amputations due to ischemia, a new approach to treat CLI is needed now more than ever. In the LimFlow study, we hope to help patients with no other options that are on their way to amputation.”

The procedure completed by Mustapha in July is the first case in the U.S. as part of an international feasibility study of the LimFlow system. The study is a multi-center, prospective, single-arm study conducted at three U.S. centers.

“The medical treatments being done at Metro Health – University of Michigan Health are pioneering,” said President and CEO Mike Faas. “I am so proud of the work of Dr. Mustapha, and all of those who comprise our Heart & Vascular team. They are so passionate about the work that they do—and are willing to push the level of care to new heights if it will safely and effectively increase the quality of life for patients.”

“I’m delighted that Metro Health – University of Michigan Health can lead the way in pioneering new treatments for patients,” Mustapha said. “This would not be happening here were it not for the vision of Mr. Faas, our president and CEO. Seven years ago we began work to fight the epidemic of CLI. In that time, our amputation prevention program has grown like no other in the country because the leadership at Metro believed in the pioneering work we were doing, and they recognized this work is improving the health and wellbeing of our community.”


Metro Health – University of Michigan Health hosts free day camp for cancer families

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is honored to host Family Day Camp, an annual event for families coping with cancer, from 3-5 p.m. every Thursday afternoon, July 13 through August 3. Camp will be held at The Cancer Center at Metro Health Village, 5950 Byron Center Ave. SW.

A free four-week program, Family Day Camp provides education and emotional support for families that have a loved one battling cancer.

“Family Day Camp is a fun, supportive environment that gives participants a chance to learn about cancer and its effect on the family,” says Metro Health – University of Michigan Health President and CEO Michael Faas. “It helps families form stronger bonds with each other, while also connecting with other families that understand what they’re going through.”

Each two-hour session will be packed with fun for all ages. The entire family is invited, from newborns to great-grandparents. Children may participate without an adult, though families are encouraged to attend together.

“We’ve gathered the best family fun activities from around Grand Rapids and brought them all to the Cancer Center at Metro Health,” says Laura Smith, Cancer Center director. “We want families to be able to have some fun together while someone they love is battling a disease.”

Activities and educational topics will vary depending on the day. Families can participate in one or all of the four sessions:

  • July 13: Someone I Love is Sick (about cancer)
  • July 20: Battling the Bad Guys (about cancer treatment)
  • July 27: I’m Still Me (about changes in loved ones and routines)
  • August 3: Happy or Sad, the Good and the Bad (how to express emotions and support each other)

Participants are invited to meet at the big tent beside the cancer center. There’s no charge and no need to register in advance.

Family Day Camp is hosted by Metro Health Child Life Services, a department that specializes in helping children cope with illness, injury and hospitalization. The annual camp is funded through donations to the Metro Health Hospital Foundation.


Power Outage Information

Update: Power has been fully restored to the Hospital.


Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is currently operating on back-up power. Please call your physician’s office to check the status of your doctor appointment, or call the hospital before coming for a service. Updates will be provided throughout the day.

Arizona Cardinals Co-Captain Jared Veldheer Returns Home to Host Football Camp on June 27

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is proud to sponsor the Jared Veldheer Football Camp on Tuesday, June 27, from 5:30

p.m. to 8 p.m., at Grand Rapids Christian High School Stadium, 2300 Plymouth Avenue, SE. The cost is $20 per student, and is open to students from third through eighth grade.

Veldheer is a team captain and left tackle for the Arizona Cardinals. In 2014, he was the team MVP. He is a Hillsdale College 2-time All-American and a Forest Hills Northern graduate. Veldheer teams up with area football coaches and Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Sports Medicine for the night of instruction.

“I’m excited to get back to Grand Rapids for another year of this football camp,” Veldheer said. “It is exciting to teach young athletes who have a passion for sports and are eager to learn. More importantly, I’m excited to share my message about playing multiple sports, eating healthy, and being a team player. My goal is to encourage all student athletes to ‘Stay in the Game’.” All proceeds from the camp go to the Keeping the Beat Program.

Dr. Ed Kornoelje, sports medicine medical director for Metro Health – University of Michigan Health will discuss with parents and athletes sports injury prevention. “Athletics provide a great opportunity for students to learn many skills outside of just their sport,” Kornoelje said. “It is important for all student athletes, and their parents, to understand what it takes to be a healthy athlete. This camp provides a great platform to discuss these items.”

In additional to the on field practice, Veldheer will share his personal message on the drive, focus and discipline it has taken to be one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL.

All participants registered by June 27 will receive a free T-shirt and an autographed book “Stay in the Game—Jared Veldheer’s Journey to the NFL”.

To register, go to

Sponsors for this year’s event include: The IBOAI, The VLMB Group at Merrill Lynch, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Sports Medicine, Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille, The HUGE Show, CareLinc Medical and Bumblebee Ice cream.